Winning hymn inspired by Algoma diocese’s motto

Published September 4, 2007


Anglican musician Jane Best was a winner in a recent hymn competition centered on an unusual area – songs for congregation unaccompanied by instruments or choir.

Pepperdine University, based in Malibu, Calif., chose to focus on congregational singing in a hymn competition organized in conjunction with a June 4-7 conference on a cappella (unaccompanied) church singing.

Eight winners were chosen from 192 entries, among them Ms. Best’s Walk in Newness of Life, inspired by a motto chosen by Bishop Ron Ferris for his diocese of Algoma, which stretches along the northern shore of the Great Lakes. One criterion for the competition entries was that “the average congregation with some practice or familiarity can sing (the hymn) with general success.”

Ms. Best said in an interview, “I wrote the song to support the motto and my congregation sang it, so I knew it worked in my congregation.” Based on Manitoulin Island, Ont., she is music director at All Saints Anglican church in Gore Bay.

The prize was an expenses-paid trip to the conference, called The Ascending Voice, held on Pepperdine’s scenic campus overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Ms. Best was the only Canadian among the competition winners, the rest of whom were American.

The winning hymns were sung at an evening concert. “There were about 300 people there. It was a big sound and it felt great,” she said.

In 2005, Ms. Best produced a CD of spiritual songs called You Are the One that includes a booklet with lyrics and chord markings. It is “intended to encourage worship, especially in small churches where it is hard to do new music,” according to her CD notes. Some are for soloists and small groups, but most can be sung by average churchgoers. More information is available on her Web site,


  • Solange DeSantis

    Solange De Santis was a reporter for the Anglican Journal from 2000 to 2008.

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